SMEs delay hiring new staff until after the Federal Election


A recent study has revealed that 19 per cent of Australian small business will delay hiring staff until after the Federal Election as fear mounts over the impact of election policies on operations.

According to new survey results in the Westpac Small Business Report in collaboration with Deloitte, small businesses are delaying critical decisions such as staffing and investment, which could impact job growth.

Westpac General Manager of SME Banking, Ganesh Chandrasekkar, said it was encouraging to see many small business adopt a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to decision-making given the increasing pace and unpredictability of change this quarter.

“This is a credit to the hard working business owners across the country, and we can all learn from their example,” he said.

“We do appreciate not all businesses will share the same level of confidence, and that is why they’re more cautious and delaying decisions until after the Federal Election. To ensure more small businesses can continue to operate with confidence, Westpac is here to help with an additional $30 billion available to lend to this sector.”

The report revealed that 50 per cent of small businesses are worried about the impact election policies will have on their business operations.

“Our customers tell us that small business tax cuts, less regulation and red tape and energy policy are a top priority in the upcoming election. The recently announced plans to fast track tax cuts for small business will offer some support; but more can be done to help particularly with grant funding,” said Mr Chandrasekkar.

“There is a significant number of government grants available but over 40 per cent of small businesses are unaware of what’s available and almost 80 per cent say the government grant process is too difficult to navigate. If there is one area which we could boost confidence it is in the areas of grants – both government and corporate – by easing the burden of compliance and complexity so that businesses receive the benefits.”

Mr Chandrasekkar predicts a grim year ahead.

“Looking ahead, the economy is facing a more challenging year with the housing downturn expected to have a more material impact on growth with the RBA now expected to cut interest rates to cushion the slowdown. With the Federal Election likely to impact business decisions, 2019 is already shaping up as a trickier year for small business; it will be important we work together with government to ensure they are supported and can continue to operate with certainty.”

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